Give Your Website an SEO Audit and Increase Your Search Results
There are a few steps that you can take yourself to find out if your website has any basic search engine optimization problems that could be penalizing your website or lowering your website rankings.
Adjusting Your Browser to Find Search Bot Crawling Errors
When a user visits your website its important that they see what you want them to see, but what about when Google and other search engines visit your site, are they seeing what you want them to see? Crawling errors, or other hidden data, known as cloaked data, could effect your search rankings, costing you business. If you haven't taken the time to view your website through the eyes of Google the following steps will show you how to change your Firefox browser to match the settings of a Google Bot.
- Step 1: Add the UserAgentSwitcherforFireFox add-on to your Firefox Browser. After the plug-in is installed and enabled you will need to switch your user agent to Googlebot 2.1 (Tools → Default User Agent → Search Robots → Googlebot 2.1)
- Step 3: Clear your current browser cookies and then disable them (Tools → Options → Privacy → Change “Remember History” to “Use Custom Settings for History” → Uncheck “Accept Cookies From Sites”)
Your Firefox Browser will now be set up to view your website just like a Googlebot. Take a few minutes to browse through your website pages and look for errors in your code, if your site is displaying with errors, it may be affecting your search rankings, remember this is how, Google and other search engine bots see your website. If they are finding errors on your website, they are most certainly going to penalize you in their search result rankings. On the other hand, if you find information showing up on your website that wouldn't be there for a normal visitor, you should remove it. Extra code displaying to Google that doesn't display to normal visitors could be viewed as cloaking, and could result in your site getting penalized or even removed from Google and other search engine results.
Review Your Website Page Content and Analyze it for Relevant Content
Every page on your website should have a purpose, and the content on that page should focus on that purpose. You should make it your goal for each page to have enough good content to be worthy of a link from another website. So when you are reviewing the content for each of your pages you should ask yourself a few questions. Is this information that people will need, or would want to know? If you were searching for information on the topic of your page, would you find the information relevant and useful? If you didn't answer yes to the previous questions, then you should review the content of that page, we wrote an earlier article, Simple and Easy Content Planing Strategy that may help you develop content for your site. There isn't any rule set in stone for a minimum amount of content, but if you cannot come up with at least 400-600 words of unique content for the page, I would question the necessity of the page.
It's the goal of Google to give its users the most relevant, useful information possible. If your not offering unique content with value, frankly you don't deserve to rank in Google's top search results, because your not offering anything of value.
Optimizing Your Website Pages and Content
Now that you have reviewed and revised your web page content, it's time to further optimize the pages to maximize your search results. If you are finding the task of optimizing your website daunting, just sit back, relax, and take it a few pages at a time. Implementing the following elements on individual web pages will help you further boost your search results, while at the same time increase conversions and readability of your content.
- Use a maximum of 75 characters
- Use consistent formatting
- Each page title tag should be unique
- Focus the title tag towards the content on the page
- Understandable, your title tags are going to show up on search result pages, they should descriptive and easy to read
- File Names - Use descriptive keywords for the image name, separating the words with a hyphen and not an underscore
- Alt Tags - Use them on as many images as possible
- Describe the image
- Use page specific keywords, if applicable
- Screen readers for the visually impaired use the alt tags, so they should be readable
- Only use one H1 title tag per page
- Use H2 and H3 Title tags to break your website into scalable sections
- Use of these languages can lead to crawling errors, so limit their use where possible
Evaluating the Look and Feel of Your Pages
You know what they say, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression and that is true for visitors to your website as well.
If you are employing the strategies above, every one of your pages is a potential landing page for a visitor. Take some time and view your website from the standpoint of a visitor. If you just landed on one of your website pages, what is your first impression? Scroll down the page, take note of your thoughts and feelings as you view the page. If the website wasn't yours, would you refer a friend or relative to the page? If the site accepted credit cards, would you feel comfortable submitting your information on the site? Is there a clear path for your visitor to take the next step? Take a look at Creating Effective Calls To Action for more information on creating paths for your users. It's important for you to ask these questions for each page, and if your response to any of them is negative, I have some bad news. You may need to consider redesigning some or all of the visual aspects and layout of your website. But I also have good news, if you analyzed and reviewed your content, you know you have unique relevant content to build your website design around.